Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Dublin II meeting: CAADP – CGIAR Alignment:

17–19 September. Dublin. The Dublin Momentum, is an initiative aimed at exploring how the international research agenda of the CGIAR can be aligned with African country and regional programmes around a Science Agenda for African Agriculture – and how development partners could best support such alignment.

The meeting provided the opportunity for greater connectivity and focus between CAADP and the CGIAR research programs (CRPs), thus bridging the gap between African demand for technical support and the CGIAR’s

The outcomes of two workshops were presented at the Dublin II meeting. These workshops intended to help countries draw upon best practices and technical resources to begin the detailed design of new investments and programmes in agricultural research, extension and education.

See communique of the Dublin process

Nairobi regional workshop on CAADP-CGIAR alignment
The first regional workshop, took place in Nairobi 27–30 August 2012. It ­was organised
jointly by the FARA Secretariat and the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA).
  • The workshop brought together over 60 participants from seven ASARECA member countries (Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania); representatives of 12 CRPs from eight CGIAR centres (Biodiversity International, CIFOR, CIMMYT, ICARDA, ICRISAT, IFPRI, IITA and ILRI); and national agricultural research institutions. 
  • During the 4-day workshop, the participants reviewed and identified key gaps and opportunities that can be addressed by research, extension and education by matching them with relevant research priorities, thus enabling the CRPs to tailor their research agenda effectively. 
  • They also formulated preliminary action plans on how the CRPs can address the research, extension and education components of the investment plans as articulated in FARA’s Framework for African Agricultural Productivity (FAAP) and the CAADP Pillar IV Strategy and Operational Plan. These action plans will effectively move the research agenda from the planning stage to implementation. 
  • See Final report of the meeting: Understanding CAADP, IPS and CRPS - caadpasareca - PBworks  Facilitation and Documentation by Paul Kibwika and Ahmed Zziwa, PICO-Uganda Ltd, 179 pages
The second workshop took place 4–6 September in Saly, Portudal, Senegal. Focusing on agricultural productivity in West Africa, the workshop brought together a similar number of participants from seven countries in West Africa (Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo) as well as the CGIAR CRP lead centres.


Mapping and Aligning CAADP Investment Plan Technology and Innovation Needs with African Agricultural R&D Investments.
The Dublin Momentum secured the commitment of key players to ensuring that the products and services of the international agricultural research community directed toward Africa will be aligned to needs and priorities articulated through CAADP-led processes and, more specifically, the national medium-term agricultural Investment Plans (IPs) developed as part of individual CAADP Compacts.The initial goal of this mapping platform is to develop and apply an approach by which technology and innovation needs, as embodied in agricultural development IPs, can be compared and contrasted with on-going and planned agricultural research investments in the region. The primary scope of R&D investments to be examined will be those of the CGIAR Consortium Research Programs (CRPs), and complementary activities by SROs and NARs.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Announcement: Harnessing Pesticidal Plant Technologies for Improved Livelihoods

21st - 24th January 2013. The First International Conference on Pesticidal Plants. The conference will be held at the International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology, icipe, Nairobi.

1) Bio-prospecting: Product development, Bio-safety, Standardization and Commercialization
2) Environmental conservation and climate change: synthetic biology and biotechnology
3) Access and benefit sharing: Intellectual Property Rights, Innovation, Advocacy and Policy
4) Culture and indigenous knowledge

Important Deadlines
  • Abstract submission: 30th September, 2012
  • Early registration: 31st October, 2012
  • Exhibitors’ registration: 30st November, 2012
  • Full Papers submission: 30st November, 2012

ADAPPT is a project supported by a European Union grant through the ACP Science and Technology Programme to establish a network of scientists and agricultural technicians, from NGOs, agricultural institutes, ministries and universities from Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe and the United Kingdom with a focus on pesticidal plants* as environmentally benign and safer alternatives to synthetic pesticides. The specific partners are listed on the Partners page of this website. ADAPPT will:
  • Establish an intra-African network with linkages to international networks,
  • Build capacity to assess research needs to facilitate the formulation and implementation of research policies associated with pesticidal plants and to prepare and submit project proposals for new funding opportunities, and
  • Enhance the research capacity and incentive of the network partners and so increase the quality and impact of research results and disseminated outputs.

16th International Symposium of the International Society for Tuber & Root Crops

23 - 28 September 2012. University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (UNAAB), Ogun State, Nigeria. 

The theme of the event was “The Roots and Tubers of Development and Climate Change”. Tropical roots and tuber crops are essential to meeting global food security needs, improving staple foods of world's poor and creating new opportunities in global food supply.  The symposium gathered about 200 scientists from over 30 countries willing to share experiences, build collaborations and develop strategies to contribute to sustainable root and tuber development.

  • Policies favourable to enhancing the contribution of RTCs to development- (1) poverty reduction and food security (2) enterprise development and income generation and export development, (3) impacts of climate change and variability, (4) impacts of the global food crisis, global economic downturn and urbanization, (5) opportunities provided by biofuels. (6) Intellectual Property Rights
  • Global Scenario on Production, Utilization and Marketing of Root and Tuber Crops - Trade and Technology Commercialization; 
  • Progress in the science and technology for enhancing the contribution of Tropical Root Crops to development - Crop Improvement and Genomics; Biodiversity, Conservation and Evaluation; Biotechnology and Biofortification; Characterization of resistance to biotic and abiotic stressors; Plant, Water and Nutrient Management
  • Applying new scientific and technical knowledge on RTCs to contribute to development.- Technology Development and Transfer processes and systems; Value Addition for Food, Nutrition and Health; Regional Exchanges and Technology Transfer; Roots and Tubers for Feed and manure.

The Future Of Food at the Clinton Global Initiative

23-25 September. New York City. Clinton Global Initiative (CGI). Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, CGI convenes a community of global leaders to forge solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. CGI Annual Meetings have brought together more than 150 heads of state, 20 Nobel Prize laureates, and hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations and NGOs, major philanthropists, and members of the media.

The Future Of Food
Judith Rodin, President, The Rockefeller Foundation

  • Akinwumi Adesina, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Federal Republic of Nigeria
  • Jason Clay, Senior Vice President, Market Transformation, World Wildlife Fund
  • Clarence Otis, Jr., Chairman and CEO, Darden Restaurants, Inc
  • Irene B. Rosenfeld, Chairman and CEO, Kraft Foods, Inc.

Agricultural Research for Development- Innovations and Incentives

Dr Nteranya Sanginga, IITA, made a presentation on: Agronomy or Brown
Revolution needed to intensify agricultural productivity in Sub-Saharan Africa
26-27 September, 2012, Uppsala, Sweden. The Swedish research network Agricultural Research for Development (Agri4D) organised an annual multi/inter-disciplinary and multi-stakeholder conference on agriculture, livestock and forest research in an international development context.

The conference was organized by the networks Agri4D, SIANI, Focali, Future Agriculture, Future Forests and SLU Global. Distinguished international guests gave key-note presentations on pertinent research and developmental questions. Sessions were thematic and led by a session leader who gave a session key-note presentation.

This year the themes were pre-organized and focused on the new CGIAR Research Programs (CRPs). The sessions will include presentations by CRP representatives as well as by Swedish research groups.
Future Agriculture report: Critical research issues for future sub-Saharan African agriculture  (40 pages)
A report that have been using four different scenarios to identify future challenges and research needs for food production and land use in sub-Saharan Africa. It will be presented by Future Agriculture at a seminar at SLU on September 28th.
Download: Future Agriculture SSA scenario report.pdf

Agri4D funding opportunities for members
Agri4D announced funding opportunities, maximum ammount to apply for is 100 000 SEK, for writing multidisciplinary reviews/synthesis/discussion papers and research applications.

Optimising the performance of producers' organisations

17 Sep 2012 - 28 Sep 2012. Location: Wageningen, The Netherlands. Organisation: Wageningen UR Centre for Development Innovation, Agriterra.

Harnessing the potential of agriculture to reduce poverty and to revitalise rural areas requires the involvement of producers and their organisations in order to build people-centered and sustainable agricultural development models. 

The course perceived producers as small entrepreneurs and investigates the role of Producers’ Organizations (POs) as autonomous development actors that face specific challenges. The course concentrated on strategic issues and gave ample attention to innovative institutional arrangements that link small-scale farmers to markets and policy development, in view of inclusive rural economic development.

The course was structured according to five major themes:
  1. Contextual analysis: evolution of POs and farmers’ movements
  2. Organisational strengthening : internal organisation and management of POs
  3. Institutional arrangements: competition, collaboration and positioning of POs in the agricultural arena, with specific attention for market participation strategies
  4. Economic services: options and tools for sustainable economic service delivery to members
  5. Representation services: options and tools for participatory policy development, lobby & advocacy and public accountability.
Course brochure: PDF file 

15 - 19 October 2012. Kenya, East Africa. A course for professionals promoting farmer-inclusive agribusiness

This October 2012 course is the first in a series of three one-week courses given in East Africa – focusing on organized farmers as partners in agribusiness. The courses are referred to as one course : OPPO – organized farmers as partners in agribusiness. 

They address how East African farmers, through collective action of their organizations, can better access agro-inputs and credit, manage their production, create added value and access more remunerative markets. The courses thereby perceive farmers as autonomous entrepreneurs and their organizations as farmers’ business supporters. Participants will learn about farmer entrepreneurship, collective action of organized farmers and farmer-inclusive business models in the East African context. And they will exercise practical approaches and tools for promoting competitive, sustainable and farmer-inclusive agribusiness models.

  • reflect upon farmer entrepreneurship and farmer-inclusive agribusiness development, with specific attention for economic services farmers’ organizations can provide to their members; 
  • review key challenges that farmers face, and identify options to address these through collective action; 
  • are capable to use operational approaches and practical tools for facilitating the performance and market engagement of farmers’ business organizations;
  • analyze internal governance of farmers’ organizations and discuss organizational strengthening;analyze farmers’ relations with sourcing companies, banks and micro-finance institutions, input dealers, research and extension and other stakeholders, and learn about options to improve these relations; 
  • discuss experiences with farmers’ positioning in the external business and policy environment; 
  • Explore modalities for facilitating farmer entrepreneurship and alternative intervention strategies for external support to farmers and their organizations.

Second Global Conference on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change

3-7 September 2012.
Hanoi, Vietnam. The Second Global Conference on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change co-organized by Viet Nam and the Netherlands, in close collaboration with other partners, including FAO and the World Bank looked at strategies and practices that can take this comprehensive approach. 

The opening ceremony of the 2nd global conference on agriculture,
food security and climate change, September 6, 2012
The conference allowed global leaders, practitioners, private sector, scientists, and civil society to share experiences and demonstrate how early action on Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA) can act as a driver of green growth. 

It was also be an opportunity to take stock of implementation of CSA since the First Global Conference in November 2010.

Africa-related presentations:
  • Yaya Adisa Olatan Olaniran, Chair of the Committee on World Food Security (Download PDF
  • Smallholder farmer response to climate change: perspective and priorities for CSA adoption: Dyborn Chibonga (World Farmers Organization) (Download PDF
  • Malawi CSA national implementation: Wilfred G. Lipita (Malawi) (Download PDF
  • Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change: Mary Karanja, Assistant Director, Ministry of Agriculture, Kenya (Download PDF
  • Elements of an integrated approach, for landscape management: Nurudin Chamya, Coordinator, National Forestry Resources Monitoring and Assessment, Tanzania (Download PDF
  • Sustainable land management and climate smart agriculture in Ethiopia: Melaku Tadesse National Coordinator, Sustainable Land Management Program. Ethiopia (Download PDF
  • The role of Policy in Agricutural Production and Climate Change Adaption: Evelyn Anmubiru-Mwaura, AGRA (Download PDF )

EU wants to enhance research cooperation with third countries

18 September 2012. Paula Park for SciDev. EU unveils plan for global science partnerships.

The European Union needs to strengthen its dialogues with international partners to build critical mass for tackling key challenges of today’s world, says Commission's Communication «Enhancing and focusing EU international cooperation in research and innovation: A strategic approach».

The Communication proposes a concept for EU strategy in research and innovation cooperation with third countries in the near future published on 17 September. “To remain a major global player, the Union must promote itself as an attractive location for carrying out research and innovation and be successful in the global competition for talent, while at the same time preserving its economic interests, for instance as regards the protection of intellectual property”, the Communication says.

Regarding developing countries, the emphasis will be on "building partnerships - in particular bi-regional partnerships - to contribute to the sustainable development of these regions and address challenges such as the green economy, climate action, improved agriculture, food security and health," the report says.

The main funding instrument for this new vision will be the EU's new €80 billion (around US$105 billion) six-year research framework, Horizon 2020, which begins in 2014 and will be open to participants from "all over the world".

"We are working full time to develop this international cooperation," Thierry Devars, an international relations officer for the Commission's directorate-general for research and innovation, told SciDev.Net.

The Horizon 2020 research goals will be aligned with the EU's development goals by a newly created internal Commission working group, comprising research and international development directorate staff members "to try and better coordinate the capacity-building initiative," Devars said.

The resulting grants and programmes will be marketed with EU partners throughout the developing world, Devars added.

"In each region of the world we have a kind of a platform, a gathering of researchers from Europe and the region," Devars told SciDev.Net. "The role of these platforms is to promote research opportunities, advertise the calls [for research proposals], publicise subjects and topics, and organise workshops."

The EU has a history of funding international research and capacity building through its framework programmes FP6 (2002-2006) and FP7 (2007-2012). The new international strategy in part reflects a 2011 evaluation of FP7, which called for an "intensification" of international cooperation in research, focused on "engaging with partners outside of Europe on equal terms and in programmes and activities of high mutual interest".

"EU collaboration with developing countries will continue," Daan du Toit, South Africa's science and technology representative to the EU, told SciDev.Net. "But there will be more specific focus areas for specific topics where there is shared interest between Europe and the country concerned".

"There's a number of processes where we [the African governments] discuss with the European Commission to try and identify what those priorities are."

Paolo Sarfatti, director of Agrinatura - an alliance of 35 European universities and research organisations working in agricultural research, education, training and capacity building for development - told SciDev.Net that Horizon 2020 offers a "golden opportunity" for ensuring research projects are designed to "really and truly address issues like poverty reduction". He said this is partly due to the fact that the commission is designing the new development aid programme concurrently with Horizon 2020.

Horizon 2020 still needs to be approved by the European Parliament and its member states. The priorities and approaches are being finalised over the next few months, for proposed adoption in early 2013, according to a published EU timeline. The first calls for proposals will be launched in January 2014.

Questions and answers
Supporting materials

Monday, September 24, 2012

Annonce: Colloque - Assurer la production agricole

18 décembre 2012
Assurer la production agricole
Comment faire des systèmes assuranciels des outils de développement ?
Centre de conférences ministériel
Ministère des Affaires étrangères
27, rue de la Convention, Paris 75015 - France
Interprétation français-anglais

Inscription obligatoire :
Participation gratuite dans la limite des places disponibles

Au Nord comme au Sud, les agriculteurs sont confrontés à de fortes variations des rendements et des prix des produits agricoles. Des assurances sont mises en œuvre, dans une centaine de pays, pour sécuriser les revenus des producteurs et faciliter leur accès au crédit. Mais les évaluations des systèmes assuranciels sont mitigées : leur coût, leur efficacité, leurs impacts sont controversés. A quelles conditions les assurances agricoles peuvent-elles toucher davantage de producteurs et contribuer au renforcement de la sécurité alimentaire et à la réduction de la pauvreté ? Qu’attendre, en particulier, de l’intervention publique ? 

Le colloque organisé par la Fondation pour l’agriculture et la ruralité dans le monde et par Pluriagri explorera les défis et les enjeux des systèmes assuranciels, en dressant le bilan des dispositifs existants et en ouvrant le débat avec les différentes parties prenantes : agriculteurs, assureurs et réassureurs, experts, ONG, Etats et organisations internationales.
Publié le : 11 septembre 2012

Thursday, September 20, 2012

High-level Conference on Innovation for Poverty Alleviation

South Africa's innovative edge will be sharpened 
through continued involvement in global scientific 
and technological advancement, said president Jacob Zuma.
Presentation by Daan du Toit: SA in the
Frame Work Programme Agriculture and
related research
18-19 September 2012. Sheraton Hotel Brussels. Organised by the South African Mission to the European Union. The conference on Innovation for Poverty Alleviation was organised as side event to the fifth South Africa – EU Summit. The Conference presented the European Union’s development cooperation programme on “Innovation for Poverty Alleviation” with the South African Department of Science Technology (DST).

The event, organised by the DST in partnership with the European Commission, included a keynote closing address by His Excellency, President Jacob Zuma, President of the Republic of South Africa (see his speech) as well as contributions from the European Commissioner for Development, Commissioner Andris Piebalgs (see his speech) and South Africa’s Minister of Science and Technology, Her Excellency, Minister Naledi Pandor.

Within the framework of the South Africa -European Union Strategic Partnership, there is a shared policy conviction that science and technology are critical instruments for sustainable growth and development, which also play an essential role in poverty alleviation efforts. It is against this background that 'Innovation for Poverty Alleviation' programme has been developed. It is funded for an amount of €30 million by the EU and implemented by the DST, to complement and enhance the Department’s programmes to deploy science and technology and harness innovation to fight poverty in South Africa. ( See: 20/09: Tech innovation gets €30m).

The Conference included presentations of success stories implemented under the cooperation programme, for example related to support for innovative ICT platforms to bring connectivity to remote rural areas. In this regard the “wireless mesh network” project provides 185 schools and 60 000 citizens with connectivity, with the support of 17 new small enterprises established in these communities.

Other examples included technology transfer partnerships, including with industry, to foster the creation of sustainable community owned enterprises in poverty-stricken areas. These enterprises are for example active in sectors such as essential oils and medicinal plants.

Proceedings concluded with a panel discussion on how science and technology’s potential to contribute to poverty alleviation could best be leveraged under the South Africa – EU Strategic Partnership, as well as under the broader Joint Africa-EU Strategy. This discussion was especially relevant for the current consideration of the development of new cooperation instruments (of which Horizon 2020).

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Facilitating innovation platforms to trigger institutional change in West Africa

One finger cannot lift a rock. Facilitating innovation platforms to trigger institutional change in West Africa
Editors: Suzanne Nederlof, Rhiannon Pyburn 
© 2012, Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) 
ISBN 9789460221972 | KIT Publishers, Amsterdam | Paperback | 142 p. |  

There is growing consensus on the value of multi-stakeholder approaches to natural resource management, institutional change, poverty alleviation, climate-change mitigation and adaptation, and food security. Using such approaches to foster institutional change implies a special twist.

This book presents the hands-on experience of facilitators who have struggled at the coal face with this approach. We hope that others in this emerging profession will be able to learn from their experience.

The research programme Convergence of Sciences (CoS, 2002–6), funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, went through a learning process with respect to what determines opportunity for African smallholders. Typical for the time when it was conceived, CoS focused on participatory technology development in eight West African communities. The conclusion was that, yes, optimally appropriate technologies can help smallholders, but the institutional setting often makes them either impossible or unattractive to implement.

Smallholders face such small windows of opportunity that appropriate technology is often irrelevant. What emerged is that opportunity can be captured only by creating appropriate conditions, i.e., by tackling institutional factors.

At the time of writing, CoS-SIS still has two years to go. Its research is ongoing. So this book cannot deliver the programme’s final conclusions or report on institutional change. Instead, it describes the experiences of nine part-time “research associates”, who facilitate forums created by CoS-SIS, called “concertation and innovation groups”. These nine forums, one per facilitator, each deal with a topic area (or “domain”) in one of the three countries.

The production of this book has been co-funded by CoS-SIS and KIT. KIT’s contribution to this publication has been made possible thanks to core support received from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs

African researchers face omission from lucrative EU science projects

7 September. PAEPARD was mentioned in The Guardian article: African researchers face omission from lucrative EU science projects

Monday, September 17, 2012

Agrinatura Strategic Thinking Workshop

September 12th, 2012. Paris. The main objective of the workshop was to provide the elements for a new three years Work Plan (2013-2015) for the Agrinatura Alliance.

The expected results were:
  • a shared vision of the main results achieved by Agrinatura during its first two years of existence, and the main lessons learned;
  • a shared update of the international and European Agricultural Research for Development context in which Agrinatura operates;
  • an assessment of the relevance of the Agrinatura strategy as articulated in the following documents:
Capacity development for agricultural research for development_policy brief
This paper discusses issues related to support for capacity strengthening for agricultural research for development (ARD) by member countries of the European Initiative for Agricultural Research for Development.

Capacity development for agricultural research for development_study
This paper reviews the current policies and programmes of EIARD members in relation to capacity development and makes recommendations on future directions. The main issues and recommendations will be incorporated into a policy brief in which specific policy options or guidelines will be presented.

From IAASTD and the WDR 2008 to the GCARD process: rethinking the role of Agricultural research for development_POLICY BRIEF
The objective of this policy brief is to explore the implications of the 2008 International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) for the policies and investments in Agricultural Research for Development (ARD) of the European Commission and the European countries members of EIARD.

Impact assessment policies and practices of EIARD members_study
The overall aim of this study was to ‘review and compare the policies and practices of different EIARD members in impact assessment to increase relevance, uptake and coordination of efforts by and for EIARD members, stakeholders and policy-makers’. The report discusses current methodological advances and debates in impact assessment and the current practices of EIARD members, using information provided by their national contact points, data base and literature searches and selected case studies, in order to develop practical recommendations for improvement and greater coordination and alignment.

Impact Assessment Policies and Practices of EIARD members_policy brief
The overall aim of this study is to ‘review and compare the policies and practices of different EIARD members in impact assessment to increase relevance, uptake and coordination of efforts by and for EIARD members, stakeholders and policy-makers’. This policy brief is based on a study which explored current methodological advances and debates in impact assessment and analysed the current impact assessment practices of EIARD members. The purpose of this brief is to suggest practical recommendations for improvement and greater coordination among EIARD members in this area.

Making ARD more pro_poor, improving the accessibility and relevance of ARD results to the poorest_policy brief
This policy brief addresses the challenge of using the founds that European Union (EU) member states and the European Commission support Agricultural Research for Development (ARD) in sub-Saharan Africa (estimated US$470million per annum) effectively to alleviate poverty and hunger in the developing world by explicitly identifying the poor, involving them in the research process and making research results accessible to them.

Making ARD more PRO-POOR_Improving Accessibility and Relevance of Results to the Poorest_STUDY
This study contributes to strengthening EU policies towards the MDGs in general, and food security issues in particular. The study pays particular attention to two aspects of pro-poor ARD: a) involvement of the poor in ARD, and b) access of the poor to ARD results.

Agenda for Change
At a critical juncture - facing new global challenges, close to the 2015 target for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and in the midst of preparations for the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) - the EU must choose the right mix of policies, tools and resources to be effective and efficient in the fight against poverty in the context of sustainable development. The Commission is proposing an Agenda for Change to strengthen Europe’s solidarity with the world’s developing nations in this fight.

East African smallholder farmers adapting to climate change

7 September 2012. The CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) led an extensive survey of farmers at sites across East Africa, to discover what kind of changes farmers have already made to deal with variability. The goal was to understand what kind of changes are possible in the future, and what compels farmers to make these changes, in order to deal with climate change.

The results of the survey, which were published in the journal Food Security, found that many smallholders have started to embrace climate-resilient farming approaches and technologies. These include strategies that improve crop production such as using improved seed varieties, agroforestry and intercropping, and better livestock management. But many farming approaches, the kind that would actually transform the way smallholders farm, have yet to be adopted. The infographic below illustrates what has, and has not, been commonly adopted.

The researchers also found a link between farmers' food insecurity and adoption of climate-adapted approaches. The least food-secure households are also those the least likely to innovate. But it's unclear whether one causes the other or whether they are mutually-reinforcing.
"It stands to reason that households struggling to feed their families throughout the year are not in a good position to invest in new practices that include higher costs and risks,” said Patti Kristjanson, a researcher “Yet not adapting is certainly contributing to food insecurity. Food insecurity means lower adaptive capacity to deal with all kinds of change.” “So it is critical that we learn more about both the factors that enable and facilitate innovation, and how to lower the often hidden costs and barriers associated with changing agricultural practices,” she added.
Read the journal article:
Are food insecure smallholder households making changes in their farming practices? Evidence from East Africa
by Patti Kristjanson, Henry Neufeldt, Anja Gassner, Joash Mango, Florence B. Kyazze, Solomon Desta, George Sayula, Brian Thiede, Wiebke Förch, Philip K. Thornton and Richard Coe. Food Security, Vol 4, 2012.DOI: 10.1007/s12571-012-0194-z (open access)
Press release
Landmark Survey Finds Adaptation to Climate Change on Smallholder Farms Taking Root - 7 September 2012
More about the surveys
Baseline Surveys: CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security

Training Beninese youth in agribusiness

14/09. UNDP. Training Beninese youth in agribusiness
Cybelle Agossou, the youngest of a family of six children, decided to enroll in a practical training course to become self-employed and help her parents. Today, at age 20, she manages a small soap-making business and employs four people.
The Songhai Center in Porto-Novo works towards reducing youth unemployment and underemployment by training young people in organic agriculture, food processing, and natural resource management. It also facilitates access to land, seeds, and tools to allow young people to support themselves in their community and to prevent rural exodus.

The Government of Benin recently signed a funding agreement with UNDP for the amount of 51 million US dollars to strengthen and create new centers throughout the country. UNDP is providing additional funding of 1.5 million dollars as part of its 2009−2013 program.
Depuis 1985, le centre Songhaï est un centre
de formation aux techniques agricoles et à l'élevage
qui a développé une approche assez originale
centrée sur le développement durable et la
priorité donnée à la réinsertion des jeunes
“In order to sustainably reduce poverty, Benin needs to achieve minimum economic growth of seven percent per year. This will happen only by increasing productivity and agricultural production,” stressed Ms. Nardos Bekele-Thomas, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Benin.
Project Songhai will train 1,500 young people over a period of five years. “When they finish their 18-month training course, they know how to manage a business,” said Guy Louèkè, business manager of the Porto-Novo Center.

Report identifies gaps in research on agriculture for nutrition


Serious knowledge gaps exist in how agricultural developments lead to people's improved nutrition, which current research is not addressing, this report has found.

The report (DFID, 21 August, 47 pages) reveals eight gaps that are currently being neglected, including specific target groups — particularly rural workers and non-rural populations — as well as a lack of methodologies to guide research in the field.

Published by the UK's Department for International Development (DFID), the report — 'Current and Planned Research on Agriculture for Improved Nutrition: A Mapping and Gap Analysis' — first identified the direct agricultural factors, such as farming practices and the food value chain, as well as indirect, including health, economic and educationalstatus, that feed into nutritional outcomes.

It then analysed which of these factors 151 research projects on agriculture for nutrition — mainly based in low- to middle-income countries in Sub-Saharan Africa — addressed.

Accelerate agricultural transformation

18/05/2012 - Food security was a key theme 
of the G8 summit taking place in Camp David 
6-7 September. Dar es Salaam. Tanzania . Launching of the New Alliance. Tanzanian senior government officials, together with representatives of international donors and the private sector, had a two-day strategy session on how to accelerate agricultural transformation in Tanzania. The session, being held at the Bank of Tanzania, was basically about coordinating the partnership between Tanzania, international donors and the private sector to create sustained economic growth in Tanzania.

Specifically, the meeting agenda focused on three main themes:
  1. increasing stability and transparency in policy reforms regarding land, seeds, taxes and trade; improving the private sector investment climate for long term economic growth; 
  2. and developing domestic and regional input policies that encourage greater private sector participation in the production, marketing, 
  3. and trade in seeds and other inputs.
Programme national d`investissement agricole: 
les bailleurs de fonds internationaux 
se sont concertes pendant deux jours à Abidjan.
Prior to the session, 20 local and international private sector entities signed letters of intent to make specific agricultural investments in Tanzania. Led by the US Agency for International Development, Feed the Future harnesses the strengths of partner US Government organisations, multilateral institutions, the private sector, and civil society groups to help reduce poverty and under-nutrition through agriculture-led growth.

12-13 September 2012. Cote d’Ivoire launching of the New Alliance and CAADP investment plan The Cote d’Ivoire government organized a roundtable to mobilize resources to support its program on national investments in agriculture (PNIA). The launching was headed by the Ministry of Foreign Affaires representing the President of the Republic, H.E. Mr. Outtara. Several Ministers were in attendance, such as Agriculture (as lead of the initiative), Livestocks, Economy and Finance, Water and Forest, Health and Nutrition, Energy, Commerce and Environment.

The European Commission Ambassador as representative of the G8 shared the concept behind the New Alliance for food security and nutrition. The EC pledged 3 million euro for this initiative in Cote d’Ivoire.

Kick-off workshops for implementation of the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition Cooperation Frameworks were held in Ethiopia, Ghana, and Tanzania, etc. The workshops focus on the implementation of actions outlined in the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition Cooperation Frameworks to accelerate country plans and priorities for improved food security and nutrition. They also address alignment of expanded public and private agricultural investments to help ensure that this implementation complements existing efforts to support food security, nutrition, and inclusive economic growth through development of the agricultural sector.

Led by the respective host country government partners, the workshops include participation from African and G8 country government officials, international donors, private sector partners, and civil society groups. They were held on August 21 in Ethiopia, August 29 in Ghana, and September 6-7 in Tanzania, September 12-13  in Ivory Coast.

To take innovation to scale, the New Alliance will:
  • Determine 10-year targets in partner countries for sustainable agricultural yield improvements, adoption of improved production technologies, including improved seed varieties, as well as post-harvest management practices as part of a value-chain approach, and measures to ensure ecological sustainability and safeguard agro-biodiversity. 
  • Launch a Technology Platform with the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research, the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa and other partners in consultation with the Tropical Agriculture Platform and the Coalition for African Rice Development (CARD) initiative that will assess the availability of improved technologies for food commodities critical to achieve sustainable yield, resilience, and nutrition impacts, identify current constraints to adoption, and create a roadmap to accelerate adoption of technologies. 

Tanzania: Sh160bn fund planned for agriculture
Programme national d’investissement agricole (PNIA) : La Côte d’Ivoire mobilise 2002 milliards FCFA

The Role of Food Processing in Creating Markets and Reducing Losses for Smallholder Farmers in Africa

Michele McNabb, President, 
Partnership to Cut Hunger & 
Poverty in Africa
September 7, 2012. Washington, DC. The goal of this symposium was to highlight examples of how food processing can create markets for smallholder farmers and entrepreneurs, reduce food losses, improve nutrition, and meet changing food demand. The discussion will also focus on how public, private and civil sector organizations can facilitate the required innovative food technologies, business expertise and policy environment in Africa.

PANEL: Leveraging Appropriate Innovations for Food Processing and Market Development for Smallholder Farmers
  1. Linking Farmers to Markets through Food Processing and Value Addition: Case studies from West Africa – Betty Bugusu, Managing Director, Purdue University’s International Food Technology Center, and Bruce Hamaker, Director & Professor, Purdue University’s International Food Technology Center. (DOWNLOAD PRESENTATION)
  2. Cassava Processing and Market Development in Nigeria – Gbassey Tarawali, Project Manager for CEDP and MARKETS, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (via webinar). (DOWNLOAD PRESENTATION)
  3. Strategies for Fast Tracking Market Developments for Food Products in Africa -Manjeet Chinnan, Professor of Food Engineering, Department of Food Science and Technology, University of Georgia and Anna Resurreccion, Professor, Department of Food Science and Technology, University of Georgia. (DOWNLOAD PRESENTATION)
  4. Food Processing and Value Addition: Case Studies from Partners in Food Solutions - Jeff Dykstra, Executive Director, Partners in Food Solutions (via webinar). (DOWNLOAD PRESENTATION)
  5. Scaling Up Public-Private Investments for Food Processing and Value Addition – Jacklyn Claxton, Private Sector Advisor, Bureau for Food Security, USAID. (DOWNLOAD PRESENTATION)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Expert consultations on Knowledge Management

10-14 September 2012, CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands. The medium-term outcome of this process was to provide ACP institutions with a framework for Information, Communication and Knowledge (ICK) management, in the process of their becoming learning organisations with the capacity to adapt to changing environments.

  • Review and improve understanding of KM in the context of regional organisations and communities 
  • Describe the current landscape of successful KM interventions in ARD 
  • Assess the need for, capacity to implement and requirements for integral Knowledge management practices particularly in the context of regional organisations and communities 
  • Provide advice to the CTA on the types of support it should provide to regional organisations and communities 
  • Discuss scenarios for interventions and make recommendations on the elaboration of a roadmap (e.g. starting points for those activities and approaches to assess KM situation; identify/develop suitable checklists/approaches for improving KM in regional ARD groups 
This meeting comprised following Regional Organisations & Networks and KM Experts.

FARA - Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa ASARECA SADC / CCARDESA PAEPARD Project Eastern Africa Farmers Federation (EAFF) SACAU FTA - Farming & Technology for Africa Land Resources Division - SPC, Secretariat of the Pacific Community CAFAN - Caribbean Farmers Network FAO (Regional Office Africa) National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO) (ASARECA rep) African Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services (AFAAS) Land Resources Division - SPC, Secretariat of the Pacific Community Global Development Network, Egypt (GDNet) International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) Faculty of Economics & Business Administration - VU University Amsterdam ECDPM IKM - Emergen Project UNECA University of Wageningen

Africa: Continent Advised to Increase Agriculture Spending

Agriculture Minister Dr. Agnes Kalibata (L) chats with 
the Executive Director of Forum for Agricultural Research
 in Africa Prof. Monty P. Jones 
7 SEPTEMBER 2012. The Forum for Agriculture Research in Africa (FARA) has decried African governments' persistent under-funding of the agricultural sector as the leading cause of slow development on the continent.

Its Executive Director, Prof. Monty Jones, made the remarks at the opening of a three-day consultative workshop in Kigali that aims at strengthening the capacity for agricultural innovation in post-conflict and prolonged crises countries.

"In post-conflict situations, provisions of peace depend on robust economic growth. For many post-conflict countries in sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere, the economies are largely dependent on agriculture and investment in agricultural development is the best bet for stimulating aggregate GDP growth," Prof Monty explained.

He added that the role of agriculture in evolving development of countries emerging from conflict rests on the fact that on average, GDP growth originating in the agricultural sector is considered at least twice effective as in reducing poverty as GDP derived from other sectors.

Engaging the agricultural sector facilitates abatement at least in the initial reconstruction stages of the unemployment situations invariably characterising many post-conflict countries.

Prof Monty believes that as the states re-embark on an industrialisation path, agricultural produce would provide raw materials for local agro-based industries and also serve as export goods, bringing in much-needed foreign exchange for importation of inputs for the non-agro industrial sector.

Agriculture minister, Dr. Agnes Kalibata, urged African countries, especially those in post-conflict situations, to invest more in agriculture if they are to develop.

"The surest way to sustainable socio-economic rehabilitation is investing more in agriculture. The rural poor in post conflict situations depend largely on agriculture for livelihood nutrition and food security," she noted.

According to FARA, circumstances in 22 countries worldwide currently subscribe to the banner of protracted crises, with 80 per cent of such countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

These include Burundi, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, and Uganda, among others.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Pilot Study on Institutional and Organisational Changes in Selected National Agricultural Research and Education Institutes in Sub-Saharan Africa

This report (September 2012, 80 pages) summarises the results of a pilot study commissioned by the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) to test a methodology for monitoring institutional and organisational change in selected agricultural research and education institutes across sub-Saharan Africa currently implementing the Strengthening Capacity for Agricultural Research and Development in Africa (SCARDA) programme.

The following Focal Institutes were included in the present analysis:

  1. Botswana College of Agriculture (BCA), Botswana
  2. Department of Agricultural Research (DAR), Botswana
  3. Institut des Sciences Agronomiques du Burundi (ISABU), Burundi
  4. Crops Research Institute – Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CRI-CSIR), Ghana
  5. Faculty of Agriculture, National University of Lesotho (FA-NUL), Lesotho
  6. Institut d’Economie Rurale (IER), Mali
  7. Natural Resources Development College (NRDC), Zambia
  8. School of Agricultural Sciences, University of Zambia (SoAS-UNZA), Zambia

An important lesson learned from using the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) methodology is that the change captured by this survey instrument for the different SWOT factors requires careful interpretation. It is less straightforward than may be originally perceived.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Supporting Policy Research to Inform Agricultural Policy in Sub-Sahara Africa and South Asia

6-7 September, 2012. Nairobi, Kenya. Global Development Network. The Global Research Capacity Building Program. One of GDN’s projects is the one on “Supporting Policy Research to Inform Agricultural Policy in Sub-Sahara Africa and South Asia” that is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Some 35 participants attended this workshop that included politicians, researchers, donors, media, and policy analysis institutions, universities, NEPAD and a multinational seed company. Following the presentation and discussion of Case Studies two sets of round table discussions were held on the Case Sties presented.

Over the last 12 months, five research teams from leading
African universities have reviewed extensive published and unpublished
research in five areas that affect agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa
in order to bring forth policy issues that are relevant to the region.
On the second day of the workshop, the Policy Briefs were presented and a press conference held on the Briefs with media representatives from various African countries.
  • Gates Foundation announced that most of their grants in agriculture would now support smallholder agriculture. Other areas of support would be breed improvement in livestock and poultry (a new area), issues of market failure, data collection and policy analysis, supports a Masters degree in Agric Economics and Policy on-going in Kenya and another planned for francophone countries to be based in Burkina Faso. Gates Foundation is interested in issues of policy research for policy formulation and decision making.
  • Syngenta Company is investing US$ 500 m into Africa and will be concentration on South Africa, Kenya, Egypt and Morocco for now. They will support smallhoder farmers. The criteria for country selection are competitiveness in agriculture informed by: infrastructure support, government support in general, macro-economic stability and openness to trade.
1. Agricultural Pricing and Public Procurement.

Published on : August 31, 2012
Agriculture plays a major role in the economies of most Sub-Saharan African countries – creating employment, boosting GDP and supporting the livelihoods of many of the region’s poorest households. Yet the region has gone from being a net food exporter to a net food importer over the last four decades. Ensuring an adequate supply offood is a major challenge and governments have employed a range of pricing and procurement measures in an effort to achieve this, with varying degrees of success
2. Irrigation and Water Use Efficiency.


Irrigation and water use efficiency in Sub-Saharan Africa
Published on : August 31, 2012

3. Improving the Effectiveness, Efficiency and Sustainability of Fertilizer Use.


Improving the effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability of fertilizer use in Sub-Saharan Africa
Published on : August 31, 2012

4. Addressing Long Term Challenges to Food Security and Rural Livelihood.

Long term challenges to food security and rural livelihood in Sub-Saharan Africa
Published on : September 3, 2012

5. Managing Agricultural Commercialization for Inclusive Growth.


Published on : September 3, 2012